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Burton Borrok Find out more about Burton Borrok
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  • Laoshur
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Thanks, Mary,

    I had been planning to answer this, but never got around to it. They are all the same. I asked my Chinese students. Apparently the elephant ear fungus name is uncommon but it is one possible name. Whatever the name, that black dry fungus stuff rehydrated is what I am eating!

    Rhoda

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  • Burton Borrok
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Hi Marv,
    You could be absolutely right. Elephant ear may very well be a plant, also known as taro, throughout the world, while in China that name could be applied to a fungus. A lot stranger things have happened in this world, especially when crossing cultural lines. I was just going by the American encyclopedic definitions of the terms.
    Burt

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  • marvwaschke
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Burt-- I think Rhoda is right about elephant ear and tree ear, cloud ear all being different names for the same mushroom. I am pretty sure they are all the same in Chinese. I think you mentioned once before that elephant ear is taro. But I was sure I had heard before that elephant ear, cloud ear, and tree ear were all the same thing, so I did a little research.

    First, a Chinese reference book I have around says tree ears relax the heart and improve circulation, which could explain the recommendation for HCM.

    I could not find elephant ear as a synonym for tree ear in my Chinese dictionaries, but I could not find cloud ear either. However, my Chinese cookbooks use the terms interchangably and I think that is where I picked up elephant ear as a third synonym, although I can't put my finger on where. Since my Chinese dictionaries are very traditional, missing cooking terms is not surprising.

    To further the point, I could not find taro called elephant ear in any of my Chinese dictionary, although taro has its own character in Chinese and a long list of other names.

    For the record, Burt is absolutely correct: elephant ear is taro. Look up elephant ear anywhere and you will find three definitions: the ear of a large animal with a long nose; deep fried dough sprinked with sugar; and taro. But in China, elephant ear is a dried mushroom that is rehydrated and added to many dishes.

    I feel much better, having got that off my chest. You'd think I would have something better to do. Marv

    Leave a comment:


  • Burton Borrok
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Of course I have a lot on my plate – I love to eat. (One of the last few pleasures I have left – even with a long list in the no-no catagory..)
    Burt

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  • Glen Beamish
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Burt, I hope your feeling better soon, seems like you have a lot on your plate.
    Good Luck & Stay Well!

    Leave a comment:


  • Burton Borrok
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Dear Rhoda,
    I think you are a bit mistaken about wood ear and elephant ear. Not the same thing at all.

    Encyclopedia
    wood ear

    Definition: A variety of mushroom also known as cloud ear, tree ear (the larger, thicker specimens) or silver ear (albinos). They have a slightly crunchy texture and delicate, almost bland flavor that more often than not absorbs the taste of the more strongly flavored ingredients with which they are cooked. Asian markets sell fresh and dried wood ears, the latter of which, except for the albino varieties, look like brownish-black, dried chips. Upon reconstituting they increase 5 to 6 times in size and resemble the shape of an ear. Wood ears are popular in stir-fries and soups and are often combined with tiger lily buds. See also mushroom.


    Colocasia esculenta
    (co-lo-CA-see-a)
    Elephant Ear or Taro
    ARACEAE
    This is a tuberous bulb plant growing from 3 - 5 feet. Generally grown outside in semi-tropical and definitely tropical areas. Can be grown in northern areas but must be dug up for the winter months. A very showy, back of the border plant. They perform best in shade and must have good drainage.

    About the rest of your post, I sure hope you are in good health and can return with your husband for the next term. Shirley and I are married five years longer then you, and the only time we were separated for any length of time was when I was working on a contract in Seattle and Shirley went to visit her brother for a week in Maryland. No, wait. The first month I was up in Seattle Shirley stayed at home in the San Fernando Valley. Neither one of us liked being alone, so that arrangement stopped rather abruptly. Instead we both flew home for a week-end every month or so. (Much better.)

    We both decided that our marriage was more important than our career, so we chose the latter. So, for us to offer to separate at this difficult time on our lives is a pretty good indication of how committed we are to teaching here, I think.
    Bravo – on both counts.
    Burt

    Leave a comment:


  • Laoshur
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Hi, Bert,

    About the elephant ear fungus, yes, I just ate some for lunch. It is actually the same as wood ear fungus, just a different name. I ate it (don't laugh too hard) mixed with Greek style green beans. I made Greek food for some students the other day and decided that the green beans and tomatoes would mix well with ear fungus. BTW - it did! I suspect that anything with much flavor will do. I eat it with a scrambled egg for breakfast.

    Yes, we definitely hope to return to China. My husband has told the university that he will be back here in the fall, if they want. We told them that I might or might not be able to return in the fall. So far we have not heard their preference, but someone in the international office said not to worry about it, so we are trying to relax and wait. Dr. Gilligan told me that I could travel a month after getting the pacemaker, but he also said that maybe I could set a goal of returning to China in 2005. My husband and I have never been separated for more than a few days in nearly 32 years of marriage, so if he comes back without me, there will be a great motive for me to get well enough to come back! We both have PhD's in the sciences, so we had to make the choice of whether we would seek positions separately and advance our careers or whether one of us would follow the other. We both decided that our marriage was more important than our career, so we chose the latter. So, for us to offer to separate at this difficult time on our lives is a pretty good indication of how committed we are to teaching here, I think.

    Get well!
    Rhoda

    Leave a comment:


  • Burton Borrok
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Thanks Rhoda,
    I really don’t know if a pump is the answer. My best guess at this time is that insulin does no good with me, and may in fact be exacerbating the issue. That’s why he wants me to check my glucose level two hours after eating – to see if the insulin is even temporarily driving down the sugar levels.

    I’ve done a little research this evening and the Lasix may be interfering with it – plus maybe some other drugs. Another research project.

    I was IM-ing with Mary earlier, and she thinks the lottery is a bad idea. I guess there’s no way I’m going to die rich. Pooh.

    Tell me Rhoda, how are you doing with that elephant ear fungus? (Did you really think it was from an elephant?) Won’t be long now before you come back to the states and get patched up proper. Do you have any plans of returning to China after the summer? It must be extraordinarily gratifying work. Stay well.
    Burt

    Leave a comment:


  • Laoshur
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Bert,

    There is no way I am going to touch all this. You sound like a walking disaster area. But I do have a comment on the insulin pump. I know a couple of people who have them and find them to be absolutely wonderful. They both had a hard time getting insurance co's to apprive them, but eventually did, in one case by threatening to call the state insurance commission. (Amazing! They were approved the same day they called and asked for a form to send to the insurance commission.) So, I would push the doc for one if he does not come up with a better idea.

    Meanwhile, I'll be praying for wisdom for you and the docs and improved health for you.

    Rhoda

    Leave a comment:


  • Burton Borrok
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Well folks,
    I had some more disheartening news. When I hit 100 units of Insulin a day I thought it best to check in with my endocrinologist. His assistant ordered a bunch of blood tests and made an appointment for me to see the doctor tomorrow. He called this morning, told me he had a cancellation and so I saw him this afternoon.

    On the blood test results – the creatinin was at my base line of 2.5, most of the metabolic profile was normal (I’ll cover the exceptions), and that’s the end of the good news.

    On the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel my fasting glucose was 196 (norm 65-99), BUN 37 (norm 7-30), and Creatinin 2.5 (norm 0.5-1.5).

    On the Lipid Panel – Cholesterol 324 (norm 140-200), Triglycerides 948 (norm 25-150), HDL 40 (norm 40-60) (These are the good guys), Chol/HDL ratio 8.10 (norm 2.00-4.50). With the Triglycerides over 400 the LDL could not be calculated, and would require direct measurement. Looks like the change in medication for this has not worked.

    Now we come to the Diabetes problem. In the past two months the Glycohemoglobin (A1c) has gone from 8.5 to 10.1 (7 is good, over 8 requires better control). This is while continuing the Glyburide 20 mg, and increasing the insulin to 100 units / day. By the way, I am again toting a load of water.

    Today, before breakfast my glucometer showed 197 (80-120 is the good range, to 140 is acceptable). I took ten units of Humalog fast acting insulin and had a bowl of cold cereal with non-fat milk. Before lunch my reading was 350. I took 20 units of insulin and had a salad for lunch – with no dressing.

    For the next month I’ll also be monitoring my glucose level two hours after dinner to see if the insulin is even temporarily bringing the levels down. (I don’t think so.) My next appointment with him is the end of June. He is a professor of endocrinology, with a specialty in diabetes, and I think he’s great, but I think I have him stumped. The insulin is like throwing gasoline on a fire. We talked about a pump, but he wouldn’t like to see me have to mess with it if there is another way out.

    This morning I felt good, but after lunch my chest was again tight, my left elbow again hurt (beside the normal background aches and pains), I had SOB and my legs were a bit rubbery. So tell me, what’s your guess on what’s going to get me first? Maybe I should run a lottery – you think?
    Burt

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  • Burton Borrok
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Thanks Liona,
    Had a good day today. I’m now on 85 units a day, but my numbers were down under 300 – so far 225, 282, 202 before each meal. Haven’t done my bedtime reading and shot yet, but we had dinner at a salad bar, so I have hopes of another good reading.

    My only problems were walking and occasional chest tightness. We had to walk out of a Brahms concert this afternoon because my wife had another seizure, but thankfully it was only a teeny tiny one.

    Unless I call him I won’t see my endo until June 28th. I believe he will be on vacation for July and August (between semesters) and I wanted to straddle those months closely, but I’m toying with the idea of calling him when or if I hit 100 units per day. I see a small glimmer of hope with today’s numbers, so we’ll see. When I do see him I will ask if any of the drugs I’m on could be making me so insulin resistant.

    When I see my cardio I will ask him if any of the medications could be causing all these bodily aches and pains, or inhibiting my ability to walk. Unless I call him I won’t see him again until July 13th. We just changed the cholesterol medications and we wanted to give it some time before taking the raft of blood tests that precede an office visit.

    Shirley (my wife) and I just went through a few months crowded with doctor visits and we were so looking forward to a month or two with time off for good behavior – so three weeks ago my wife falls and cracks her head on a stone floor. She saw her PCP who said she had a big bump, but the scab was healing well. To play it safe she ordered a CT scan. Shirley called her neurologist who is so afraid of a lawsuit (even when Shirley repeatedly assured him that she had no intention of suing anybody) that he didn’t want to see her. Finally he condescended to see her if she insisted – in two months – but under no circumstances would he discuss her seizure or fall. I have no idea what he planned on discussing – maybe the latest fashions – but we’re now in the hassle/process of getting a new neurologist for her. (But that’s another long story.)

    Anyway, I again have a plan of action in mind and do not feel anywhere near as confused as I did before. I want to thank you, and all my friends, for helping me figure things out.
    Burt

    Leave a comment:


  • liona
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Burton,

    Sorry that you are dealing with so many limitations. I know you are very limited in how much activity you can do, so I hoped that limiting carbs might help. In a previous post in this thread you had stated that you eat a fair amount.

    Given all these constraints, I'm surprised that your specialist Doctor doesn't push you higher on your insulin shots. My Dr. said he has one woman patient who takes 800 units a day! You are a far piece from these huge numbers, so take heart!

    Leave a comment:


  • Burton Borrok
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Hi Liona,
    I have been told to strictly limit my proteins because of my kidneys. Strictly limit my carbohydrates because of my diabetes, and strictly limit my fats because of my hyperlipidemia. I was also told to eat every four hours to avoid sugar highs and lows.

    Each of the doctors preached their own gospel every time I saw them until I gave up and saw a dietitian who specialized on problem diets. Together we worked out a compromise diet that tried not to offend any problem to much. I follow it as best I can, but frankly it’s too rigid to live by. The dietitian agreed that it was so, and I should just try to stay as close to it as I could. Some of the highlights are; proteins – 4 ounces a day (the non fat milk on a bowl of cereal is two ounces of that already.) Carbohydrates – two slices of bread, one in the morning and one at supper. (The morning bowl of cereal is at least one slice.) Fats; (Olive oil – for cooking only.) Fruits and vegetables – all I want except for a long list to avoid like peas and corn, (but I can have all the popcorn I want),

    We get into crazy situations like avoiding a long list of vegetables that contain Potassium because of my kidneys, but then I take a potassium pill because of the diuretic. I’ve gone around and around with this so much I’m sure I wore a ring in the carpet. It would have been worse, except I can’t walk that much. And without knowing one word of what the dietitian said, the doctors now say I should ignore her advice and follow theirs. Aarrrgg!

    I think I’m about to giggle. Reminds me of the story of a guy who went to his doctor and was told if he didn’t go on a diet in six months he would be dead. Sure enough, in six months to the day, the doctor ran him down in the parking lot.

    Hey guys, I appreciated all your comments. It has done a lot to clear the air and wake me up to a few things I had missed or forgotten.
    Burt

    Leave a comment:


  • liona
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Burton,

    Back to the diabetes--- These Blood glucose numbers are way too high. Have you considered limiting your carb intake as another approach to getting them under control? I've found that I need striking less insulin on days when when I barely eat any carbs and exercise fairly vigorously.

    Try eating just one slice of bread for breakfast and one slice forlunch and have a dinner of protein and veggies, see if that doesn't lessen that Blood glucose. If that doesn't work, then you may just have to get more aggressive on the insulin injections.

    Have you been to a diabetes educator lately? Medicare will cover the cost----

    Leave a comment:


  • Burton Borrok
    replied
    Re: Got Some Questions

    Hey Linda,
    Thanks for the post. It just never dawned on me that the aches and pains may be drug related – and I know it can happen.

    As of 4/20 my liver function tests are normal – AST(SGOT) 38 – ALT(SGPT) 41. I had a big problem with this when I was on Lopid, but when I switched to Tricor, the problem went away. The Alk. Phosphatase and Bilirubin set were normal. My BUN was barely normal for a change at 29 (in March it was 34), and the creatinin level was at 2.2. The rest of the renal function panel was within normal limits.

    At 3/26 the CBC w/platelet was basically normal with the RBC, Hemoglobin and Hematocrit marginally low – but normal for me. The Urinalysis showed Proteins, WBC and RBC high. Haven’t had my kidney function test run for a bit, but the last reading I believe was 2.5 or 2.7.

    I’ve had pains on and off for years. In the past I had cortisone shots for bursitis and in my lower back, but that was over ten years ago. I have taken no other drugs for muscle pain as far as I can recall. With the drug load I’m on, I’m quite reluctant to add anything – although on rare occasions I will snag a small piece of chocolate. (Nobody’s perfect.)

    Now comes the hard part – talking with my doctor about it. I would have to have some idea of which drug or drug combination was causing the problem to know who to talk to. I have my PCP – great with day to day problems and making referrals, but somewhat untrained in the specialties – as you would expect. My cardiologist is handling my cardiac problems, HCM and hyperlipidemia – as well as they can be treated. My endocrinologist is handling my diabetes with Insulin and Glyburide tablets, which I’ve been on for years. My Nephrologist basically only complains about my food intake, and warns against any salt. If he had his way I would eat only raw vegetables or ones cooked with no salt at all. I guess I’ll just have to talk to each of them when I see them, and hope it rings a bell with somebody.

    I always supply each doctor with a current list and dosages of all my drugs – they are;
    Lipids – Tricor and Lipitor (just switched from Tricor - Zocor)
    Diabetes – Glyburide – Lantus Insulin – Humalog Insulin
    Cardiac – Verapamil – Atenolol – Lasix – Potassium – Folic Acid – and Nitro-Quick in an emergency only.
    OTC – Aspirin 325 mg – Vitamins C and E, Centrum Silver (Equivalent), and Grape Seed Extract.
    With all that, I’m still able to stuff in plenty of food – although I do watch what I eat – pretty much.

    Thanks again for the post – it woke me up. Anybody have any other ideas?
    Burt

    Leave a comment:

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